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Finding Forrester

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In the film Finding Forester by Gus Van Sant, a 2000 drama, a young African American man, Jamal, befriends a reclusive writer, Forrester. Through Forester, Jamal learns to sharpen his skills a writer and shocks his professor at the upper class, private high school he attends and plays basketball at.

In this film there is both the strong presence of realistic and fantastical ideas. I think that this is an effective device by the director because it gives you that idea that you can truly believe what's going on in the movie and then that lets the director be able to stretch some ideas sometimes. There is a scene where Jamal and his teacher, Crawford, get into a battle of intellect. Professor Crawford begins to say quotations by famous authors and before he can finish Jamal finishes the quotation and states the author that wrote it. After 15 or so quotes are said Professor Crawford has enough and kicks Jamal out. Now as nice as it would be to not only stand up to your teacher but to humiliate them while making yourself look brilliant is a little far out there. Another scene that stood out to me as being more fantastical than realistic was when Jamal was sent to the foul line at the end of the state championship game for his basketball team. He looked around and saw Claire, the girl he had a thing for, and then his professor, at this moment he had sort of a revelation and to prove to them that he would not give in to the deal that had been made, he purposely missed his free throws which lost them the state championship. I have been on all sorts of sports team since I was 5, there is no way that you would purposely lose the state championship for your high school. That is the dream for any athlete from the time they are young, to win the state championship for his or her high school. Both of these scenes seem more fantasy than realistic to me. However there were also many things that were very realistic and that were different from other main stream movies. One that really grabbed my attention was the connection between Jamal and Claire. There definitely was something between them but that was it, the film did not dive deeper into their relationship. That was different from other movies but it made sense because there were so many other things going on for Jamal that he really wouldn't have had time to worry about a girl at that point in time. Something else that stood out to me that seemed very real was how Jamal acted at his old school and around his friends about his intelligence. I will admit even I do this sometimes, I would never say that I'm anywhere near as smart as Jamal was made to be but around certain people you don't want to seem overly smart. You tend to want to just fit into to who you are with and if that means "dumbing" yourself down then that's what you do.

Jamal had two influential teachers in this movie, but for very different reasons. His Professor at school, Crawford, was a very



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